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"Visiting New Zealand soon" Topic

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1,154 hits since 21 Jan 2013
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General Jumbo Inactive Member21 Jan 2013 2:46 p.m. PST

I shall be visiting New Zealand from 20 February to 10 March, and I wonder if there are any especially warry events or shows I can catch?
Where are the best military museums and battle sites?
Is it true that the fibreglass Lancasters that Peter Jackson used for filming the new Dambusters film are still kicking around at Wellington airport?
I ought to say that I may be limited to North Island only, due to the time frame, but you never know……

Brian Smaller21 Jan 2013 2:50 p.m. PST

The National Army Museum is a must. See attached.

Dark Knights And Bloody Dawns Inactive Member21 Jan 2013 3:01 p.m. PST

BL Armstrong 8" dissappearing gun on Mount Victoria is a must!


Cornelius Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2013 3:05 p.m. PST

National Army Museum is indeed excellent, though not necessarily on the main tourist track. The Rotorua museum was worthwhile too.

GiloUK21 Jan 2013 4:33 p.m. PST

In Auckland itself, I strongly recommend the main Auckland War Memorial Museum in the Domain. As well as telling the history of Aoeteroa there is a whole floor on military things, with an excellent Maori Wars exhibit, lots of Boer War stuff, WW1 obviously and a complete Spitfire and Mitsubishi Zero. All set in a beautiful park as well.

If you get a chance to move further north, you have Russell, Waitangi, the Bay of Islands and the scenes of the first main outbreak of violence in the 1840s.

Some suggested reading material listed here:


I recall seeing signs to Peter Jackson's airfield in Marlborough, at the top of South Island – don't know if that's where he keeps his model planes (I didn't visit as I was too focused on the wines, I'm afraid). NZ's a wonderful place – I can't wait until we go back there for Christmas this year.


Toaster21 Jan 2013 8:13 p.m. PST

The Omaka Airfield at Blenhiem in the top of the south island is the one with all PJ's WWI aircraft and absolutly worth it (and I understand its even better now then when I last saw it).
If you make it further south there is the RNZAF Museum in Christchurch.
And still on the aviation theme if you want a Lancaster there is a real one at the Kieth Park Memorial Airfield in Auckland part of the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) that is almost in flying condition (most of the issues are regulatory rather than airframe).

Enjoy your visit.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2013 9:21 p.m. PST

I agree with the suggestions for Mount Victoria (and the nearby North Head) and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

One Tree Hill is an impressive pa that is also found in Auckland:


One of my favorite Auckland sites is Howick Historical Village, It doesn't strictly fit the criteria of what you said you wanted to see, but you won't regret a visit there.

Off the beaten path, but well worth it if you are on your way to Waitangi or the Bay of Islands, is Ruapekapeka Pa, site of the last major action of the Flagstaff War:



iceaxe Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 12:00 a.m. PST

Here's a DIY guide to one of the more interesting colonial wars (an easily disputed fact) – link

Some Chicken Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 3:56 a.m. PST

General J: I visited NZ for just under three weeks at exactly the same time (bar a day or two) last year. I confess I made no attempt to locate museums etc as I was fairly certain my wife would not consider them an appropriate use of our time given how far we had travelled to get there (UK via Hong Kong).

However, we did find that 18 days was enough to see something of both islands and (unless you plan on visiting again fairly soon) I recommend you do get over to the South Island if you possibly can. We started in Auckland and made our way down to Wellington via Rotorua and Hamilton. We then spent most of our time on the South Island, taking in the Inter Islander ferry from Wellington to Picton, the Coastal Pacific and Tranz Alpine trains,whale watching in Kaikoura, a helicopter ride over Fox and Franz Josef glaciers and around Mt Cook, Christchurch, Milford Sound, Queenstown and TeAnau.

This was mostly under our own steam (hire car) although we did have help from the trains. We had to change hotels a fair bit, but the effort was worth it as there is so much to see. And no, I am not a travel agent!

richarDISNEY Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 8:36 a.m. PST

The Royal Air Force Museum is good in Ohakea.

Not warry, but …
The Rorotua Cultural center is great.

And go watch a game of cricket when you are over there!

General Jumbo Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 3:59 p.m. PST

Wow! Thanks gents, for all the responses.
We have to do friend stuff at Auckland, and family stuff at New Plymouth and Wellington, but otherwise, we have a blank itinerary at the moment.
We have the use of a family vehicle locally, but I think that means no further than around Mt Egmont/Taranaki etc.

Some Chicken, my memsahib would appear to be made of sterner stuff, and welcomes the odd visit (my words) to the Army Museum and one or two historical sites whilst on our travels.
I think I may have to watch over my toys in the future, lest she takes an interest in the little fellers too!

Further, as a result of your post, she has herself insisted that we get down to South island, and is actively researching rail routes and other stuff as I write.

By the way, the Lancasters are reported to be 10 life-sized fibre glass copies, good enough for filming in the foreground as airfield clutter, and also WERE at Wellington.
Of course, all that may be just hearsay.

Toaster23 Jan 2013 12:12 a.m. PST

RicharDisney, the Ohakea mueseum closed for refurbishment a few years ago and they havn't decided where to build the replacement building yet as the old site got taken over by an expansion of the base facilities.


Some Chicken Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 12:21 p.m. PST

General J – I'm glad to hear you are considering the South Island – it is well worth making the effort and most of our holiday highlights happened there. We had things 90% mapped out before we left with most train journeys and hotels already booked. However we did get a little impromptu towards the end, and sorted out our stays in Queenstown and TeAnau online while we were there and our cruise in Doubtful Sound only a day or two in advance. As it was towards the end of the main tourist season, we didn't have any problem finding accommodation. Let me know if you are interested in how we fitted it all in as I would be happy to provide some details if it would help.

To be fair to my wife, I think she must be THE most tolerant wargames widow in the UK, particularly when I take into account the fact that she has zero interest in the games I play!

General Jumbo Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 5:33 p.m. PST

Some Chicken ….. yes please.
How best to do so?

Some Chicken Inactive Member24 Jan 2013 3:05 a.m. PST

General J – email would probably be best to spare anyone else still following this thread from boredom.

Send me an email to

somechicken59 (AT)

and I will get back to you.

Arteis Inactive Member24 Jan 2013 10:35 a.m. PST

If you're in Taranaki, the Tawhiti Museum in Hawera is a must-see, for both yourself and your wife:

Lots of models (including quite a few colonial NZ Wars dioramas) and beautifully displayed artifacts.

General Jumbo Inactive Member02 Feb 2013 12:04 p.m. PST

Brits on tour ….. the route so far …..
Auckland New Plymouth Wellington Picton Christchurch TransAlpine Railway Franz Josef Greymouth New Plymouth (again) Taupo Rotorua Auckland.
Probably got some of that in the wrong order.
Auckland to New Plymouth is by air inbound, not hanging about.
Nothing booked yet, and we will be winging at least some of it until nearer the time.
NZ appears to be a very expensive place if you are too old and decrepit to backpack/caravan/bunk/hitch (etc).
Still nobody with info for me, regarding wargames and model shows?
PS: Bought an England rugby shirt today ….. will that be OK to wear around the place? Joking.

General Jumbo Inactive Member11 Feb 2013 1:32 p.m. PST

Only a few days to go now, before the first leg of the journey.
Last thought ……..
Any wargames clubs in New Plymouth?

General Jumbo Inactive Member15 Feb 2013 3:32 p.m. PST

Flying out tomorrow.
Going to Haka festival at Rotorua on approx 24th, I think.
Looking forward to it.

Arteis Inactive Member18 Feb 2013 10:47 p.m. PST

There used to be a club in New Plymouth, called the Taranaki Miniature Warfare Society aka the Taranaki Old Guard. Not sure if it still exists or not.

The contact (back in 2007) was alastair.mundell AT

General Jumbo Inactive Member15 Mar 2013 6:18 a.m. PST

Arteis, unfortunately your last post was just too late to catch me before we left on The Great Adventure.
Travelling via Hong Kong and Auckland, we arrived in New Plymouth on 20th Feb.
After a few days to chill with my aunt and also to make further travel arrangements, we set off on our first tour.
The first item was a visit to Hobbiton at Matamata. I found this to be of interest, although hugely overpriced. My wife hated it.
Next day, we attended the final day of the Kapa Haka Festival at Rotorua, which was very enjoyable, despite mild sunburn (Brits on tour).
Next, the guysers at the top of the town, where the largest of the 3 vents was supposed to go off "at least once an hour", and although we waited for an hour and 45 minutes, it failed to show up. Mother Nature, huh. Incidentally, I got grief from my cousins for pronouncing "guyser" as "geezer", being informed that a geezer is a bloke. This from people who pronounce the letter "e" as "i", and the letter "a" as "e".
Onward to Lake Taupo, and the photogenic Huka Falls, which were most impressive.
Next day, onwards down the Desert Road to Waiouru and the Army Museum. We both LOVED that, and could have spent longer if our schedule had allowed. This was also the place where we learned to order our coffee as "flat white".
Incidentally, I really enjoyed driving on the empty roads, which were well kept, and especially appreciated the almost universal use of safe speed indications on bends (which are referred to by one of my cousins as "challenges").
A right turn at Bulls, then back up through Wanganui to Hawera, where we visited the Tawhiti museum. To my astonishment, the man who opened the gate in the morning had worked with me 10 years before in Scotland.
While we walked around the main exhibition, he went off to find the chap who runs it (Nigel Ogle, a very talented modeller, and frustrated wargamer), to tell him that a wargamer (and frustrated modeller) from UK was in the building.
Nigel Ogle came and found us, put us through his new interactive adventure called Traders and Whalers (very good, go and see it), and then gave us a guided tour of his workshop, not normally open to museum visitors.
He topped all this by presenting me with an autographed book he has written, called "A Desperate Dawn, The Battle for Turuturu Mokai 1868", which features photos of his terrific models, ranging from 1:1 scale to approx. 15mm scale.
Visit this museum, I recommend it! Say Hi to Colin (the assistant) and to Nigel, from me.
Back to New Plymouth the next day, around the coastal route. Incidentally, during our stay, Mt Taranaki/Egmont was visible for us from 360 degrees around, with the pix to prove it!
After a couple of days recovering, off to Wellington, taking in the large museum on the quay (sorry, can't recall the name), a tour around the numerous coves and bays, saw the Weta Cave workshop, the Botanic Gardens and used the famous cable car to get up to them.
Next day, a flat calm crossing on the ferry to get to Picton (noted hundreds of sheep, which we are told were off to better pastures down south, due to the drought conditions).
We took an interesting ride bus to Nelson, and another equally scenic ride to Greymouth the next day.
No time to get down to the glaciers, so off next day on the Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch. We thoroughly enjoyed this, in particular the scenic backdrops, the open viewing cars, and the commentary from the Aussie-baiting conductor. Christchurch was on the one hand a sad sight, what with the devastation in the Red Zone, but on the other hand, we marvelled at the resilience of the people, self evident in the Container Mall, where we had our breakfast and bought some Marmite as a gift (don't ask).
Hopped on a plane back to NP, where we spent 2 more days before the drive up to Auckland.
We stopped off at Waitomo to visit the glow worm caves, where I fell into the boat in the dark. How amusing everyone said it was……
Auckland is a sprawling metropolis, no doubt about it, but 2 days exploring there rounded off our NZ story nicely.
Back home via Canada (2 days, nothing to say).
I hope your drought is over as I write, as the cattle and sheep are in dire need of the green grass.
Hope to come back to the land of the long white cloud someday, perhaps this time with at least one actual cloud on it!
All in all, a fantastic experience, and a holiday among suich friendly people that we shall not forget.

Toaster24 Mar 2013 3:48 p.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed your visit, call again sometime.


General Jumbo Inactive Member25 Mar 2013 11:15 a.m. PST

I hope to do just that, but I may need to rob a bank or win a lottery first.
Interestingly, as per your previous post, we were staying just a few hundred yards away from the RNZAF Museum in Christchurch, but time restraints forced us to drive past.
Maybe next time.
We also had to bypass Blenheim, so not much aircraft action for us (other than many dreary hours aboard passenger versions).

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